Whether one or more of your teeth has been lost, damaged or is otherwise dealing with problems, one potential solution that might be recommended for you is installation of dental implants. Dental implants are a quality restoration option, one that brings complete tooth and root replacement to allow for normal functionality within the mouth.
At Bright Side Dental & Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer a variety of dental implant services in Bloomfield Hills and other parts of Michigan, utilizing a few different implant formats depending on your specific needs. How can you choose the right dental implant for your needs? Here are the most important categories to be aware of.
Dental Implant Types
First and foremost, you should know that there are two broad types of dental implant out there:
- Endosteal implants: The most common type of implant is the endosteal implant, which uses screws, cylinders or blades to secure the implant into the jawbone. Once in place, the abutment is attached to the implant and the restoration (crown, bridge, etc.) is then placed on top. The process of receiving an endosteal implant involves your dentist drilling into your jawbone to insert a titanium screw, then securing it into place. These implants are known for their stable, natural feeling in the mouth.
- Subperiosteal implants: A rarer version that was once used much more often for holding dentures in place, subperiosteal implants are a type that’s placed on the jawbone within the gum tissue, with implant posts exposed through the gums to hold it in place. This process requires two separate appointments, and doesn’t quite have the same level of stability as the endosteal implant. There are certain cases where these implants will be used, but the majority will be of the endosteal variety.
Dental Implant Coating
Dental implants will also typically come with coatings, which are important for protecting the implant and your gums from infection. With a proper coating in place, your implant will have the maximum chance of healing successfully, without issue.
The most common coating used is hydroxyapatite, a material that’s similar to your natural tooth enamel and encourages healthy cell growth in the area surrounding it. Hydroxyapatite can also help your body grow bone tissue around it for better stability, since this type of implant coating is closely related to your natural tissue.
Other types of coatings that can be used include fluoride, which works by fighting bacteria around the implant and protecting it from harmful elements. For people who are seeking implants for their front teeth, titanium oxide might also be an option, since this enhances the brilliance of the restoration. Additionally, zirconium oxide can be used for dental implants, which are highly resistant to corrosion.
Dental Implant Connector
In addition, all dental implants require that the screw or implant is attached to the abutment (fake tooth) on top. This requires a connector, which can come in three different types:
- Internal hex connectors: This type is shaped like a hexagon, with an opening in the implant head into which the abutment will be screwed.
- External hex connector: This is similar to the above, only with the connector placed atop the implant head rather than inside it.
- Internal octagon connector: This is a connector with an octagonal opening, designed for use with abutments that have an octagonal post.
Which type of connector you need will be based on the abutment or fake tooth that’s being used. If you’re not sure which type is right for you, your dentist can help make the decision.
Dental Implant Sizing
Also important during your conversations with your dentist about your dental implant will be the sizing and spacing of your implants. There are a few standard templates that are often used here, including:
- Standard platform: These implants, which range in diameter from 3.5 mm to 4.2 mm, are shorter and narrower, meant to match the teeth at the front of the mouth. They’re also the most popular type of implant.
- Wide platform: These implants are wider, at 4.5 mm to 6.5 mm, and meant to replace molars. They’re less common than standard platform implants.
- Mini dental implants: These implants are very small, measuring just 1.8 mm in diameter, and are used for minimizing or removing the amount of jawbone that’s replaced during surgery.
In some cases, implants can also be used to support bridges and dentures. Bridges are a form of two-implant bridge, with one placed on either side of the gap where teeth are missing.
Dental Implant Alternative Methods
Either in addition to or in place of some of the themes we’ve gone over so far, here are some other methods sometimes used for dental implants:
- Immediate Load Implants (“Teeth in a Day”): These are a type of implants that allow you to walk out of the clinic with a new set of teeth, ready to go. This is done through the use of posts that are already attached to the implant heads, along with temporary abutments that will be removed several days later.
- All-on-4: For people who have lost multiple teeth due to decay or gum disease, this type allows for implants to be placed in without bone grafting, instead using a set of temporary teeth.
- Single-stage implants: While most implant needs, including those we went over above, will be completed in a two-stage process, there is also the option to leave the implant healing cap visible — this allows for the abutment and temporary restoration to be attached without any additional procedure, allowing the whole process to be finished in just one sitting.
For more on choosing the ideal dental implant for your needs, or to learn about any of our dentist services in Bloomfield Hills, speak with the staff at Bright Side Dental & Orthodontics today.